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Coca Cola Entreprise
  1. 1 - Storage Area
  2. 2 - Unpacking zone
  3. 3 - Sorting zone
  4. 4 - Wash zone
  5. 5 - Extrusion zone
  6. 6 - Polycondensation
  7. 7 - Injection zone
  8. 8 - Silos
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WELCOME TO
THE VIRTUAL TOUR
OF PLASTIPAK PACKAGING PLANT

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1 STORAGE AREA

On this platform, the raw material of the plant is stored, that is to say, the used plastic bottles that are placed in the sorting bins by consumers.
These bottles come from France, Germany and Belgium.

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WHAT IS A BALE ?

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A bale is made of many plastic bottles previously sorted in a sorting center and compacted for easy transport. They come by truck from France, Germany and Belgium. A bale is between 250 and 350kg .

OTHER WASTE

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Bottles arriving in bales contain not only PET plastic (the only one that we can recycle in the plant ). Other plastics, labels or sorting errors will be put out of the chain and recycled in other waste treatment plants.

2 BOTTLES UNPACKING AREA

Here begins the recycling of bottles.

LOGISTICS MANAGER

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The logistics person in charge manages the shippings and the receptions of materials by making sure to respect the highest level of customer satisfaction.

PIT OPERATOR

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A pit operator must ensure the supply of the washing line with regularity and security without slowing or penalizing production.

UNPACKING STEP

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The pit operators take the bales using forklifts and put them in a pit to supply the start of the recycling chain.
They manually cut the links that encircle the bales to separate the bottles from each other .

THE TROMMEL

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The trommel aims at continuing to separate bottles from one another to better sort them out. Inside the trommel, bottles collide against eachother and move forward to the conveyor.

THE CONVEYOR

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This conveyor shakes the bottles to remove as much waste and labels as possible before the sorting step. It also allows to route the bottles within the plant.

3 BOTTLES SORTING AREA

To obtain a high quality recycled plastic, the different types of plastic present inside bales have to be sorted to keep only the PET. To do this, high technology machines are used.

THE PREWASHING

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The bottles are prewashed to remove the labels and waste that can be pasted against .
Hot water and sodium hydroxide is used to dissolve the adhesives. The water used for the prewash is recycled from another step to reduce the water consumption of the plant.

THE OPTICAL SORTERS

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The bottles will be sorted according to their color through an optic-sorting high-tech machine. The cameras detect the color of objects, compare them to a database and compressed air nozzles eject down unwanted material.
The conveyor advances at a speed of 11 km/h.
There are several optical sorting machines in this area.

THE INFRARED SORTERS

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The materials will also be sorted according to the type of plastic to eliminate everything that is not PET. These are infrared technology spectrometers that detect materials, compare them to a database and eject down unwanted stuff with the air nozzles.
These machines can also sort non-ferrous materials such as aluminum .

CONVEYOR OPERATOR

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An operator must ensure the right sorting of bottles and report any problems regarding the sorting machines. He also ensures the cleanliness of the conveyor.

4 CLEANING AREA

After bottles have been sorted and crushed, PET flakes are washed and continue to be sorted.

WASHING PROCESS TECHNICIAN

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He manages and coordinates the supply and production of the washing unit by constantly optimizing manufacturing processes and training newcomers.

FILTRATION OF WASHING WATER

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In order to reuse the water several times in the wash cycle of the flakes, the water used is filtered upstream thanks to these machines. Water is used in closed loop to reduce water consumption of the plant.

WASHING MIXERS

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The flakes are washed inside these machines. They use hot water and food detergents for this operation and also the mechanical action of the mixer.

FLOTATION

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To separate the flakes and the plastic caps, the principle of flotation is used.
Mixed flakes are immersed in a water tank continuously brewed. PET flakes sink to the bottom of the tank and cap flakes float to the surface of the water.
The water used in this tank will be reused in the industrial process.

THE RINSE MIXERS

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The flakes are mixed with clean water to remove the last traces of detergent inside these mixers.

TRANSPORT OF MATERIAL

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This machine carries flakes from the wash area to the rinse area.

5 EXTRUSION

To convert the pellets into granules, the extrusion technique is used.

OPTICAL SORTEX SORTING

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This machine completes the flakes sorting with black and white cameras adjusting the opacity of the material. A blowing system separates the PET particles from other types of plastic .

PVC SORTING

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This machine can sort the flakes to remove all traces of PVC plastic. One laser detects the PVC particles and a blowing system separates the undesirable particles from PET.

EXTRUSION UNIT
MANAGER

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He controls the production of extrusion unit within the constraints of time and quality while managing his team.

THE METERING BELT

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This machine allows to precisely weigh the amount of flakes used within the extruder situated underneath.

THE EXTRUDER

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This machine turns PET flakes into granules. The extruder compresses the flakes by heating them and stretches them in long wires.
Those wires are then cooled and cut into granules.
The resulting material requires a last treatment before being ready again to produce new bottles.

GRANULATION

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Once cooled, the PET wires are cut into granules at this stage.

6 POLYCONDENSATION

The granules obtained after extrusion can not be used yet to produce new bottles. It still requires a purification step called polycondensation to reach the expected quality for the customers.

REACTOR

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In order to purify the material and to reform the polymer chains, the granules are immersed in a nitrogen bath. The granules will be brewed and heated in this reactor with nitrogen during 16h .

MAINTENANCE MANAGER

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He oversees the curative, preventive and predictive (failure anticipation ) maintenance (repair) of the whole plant while maintaining the machinery, equipment and energy supply.

THE CATALYST

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After passing through the dryer to remove the water present in the granules, material enters the catalyst. This machine is the last stage of purification of the material. The granules are mixed with oxygen and fuel, and then heated to remove the last traces of pollutant.
At the end of this operation, the granules can be used to make new bottles suitable for food contact.

7 INJECTION

There are 7 presses within the injection workshop. They are used to manufacture preforms : future bottles that will be sold to customers.

THE BODY OF THE PRESS

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The granules will be melted and pressurized within the press at about 300 °C . Before this step, the granules have been dried again to remove any traces of water.

MOLD PRESS

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The PET paste obtained will be injected into the mold whose shape has been determined by the customer according to his specifications.
The liquid PET is injected at a pressure of 40 bars and then cooled rapidly by a water circuit inside the mold.

THE PREFORMS

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These small tubes are future bottles ready for the blowing step. To blow the bottle, the preform will be heated and then the material will be stretched with a metal rod. Finally, a high-powered jet of air (40 bar pressure) will paste the walls of the preform against the mold with the desired shape.

8 QUALITY

From the arrival of the bottles in the premises of the company and throughout their recycling process, the quality will be controlled to obtain a high quality recycled plastic.

QUALITY CONTROLS

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During the recycling process, the material will undergo many quality tests. These tests are performed at regular intervals during flash audit. These tests take place in a laboratory where the material is analyzed with many qualitative criteria.

SILOS

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The purified granules are stored in these silos which contain each 160 tons of material.
Then tankers transport these granules to the food manufacturers who turn them into preforms and bottles.

QUALITY MANAGER

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He manages and develops the quality and environment systems and is responsible for the analysis laboratory of the plant.

PICTURES OF THE PLANT